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The Welfare Effects of Social Media

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... Reviewing these reviews provides a unique point of insight into how different academic sources currently view the debate about the use of digital technologies. In this narrative review I therefore set out to examine both the broad range of systematic reviews and meta-analyses in this area [10,28], while complementing these with key studies unique in terms of their methodological rigor or experimental design (e.g., [2,8,41]). In light of the increasing need to differentiate between different types of digital technology use, part of my review will also focus on social media use in particular. ...
... A more extensive study of 2897 participants where one group was told to deactivate Facebook for 4 weeks, found that the experimental group showed small increases in well-being measured retrospectively. There were, however, no changes in the well-being measures collected by experience sampling or loneliness reports [2]. ...
... Such conflicts could be the result of the studies' low quality. Many experimental designs did not limit all social media use and most studies found it difficult to obtain good levels of participant compliance [2,59,65]. Furthermore, there is a potential for bias in participant selection: those potential participants who are not as reliant on social media to obtain positive outcomes might be more likely to take part in studies asking for them to give up social media. ...
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Introduction: In light of growing concerns about an increasingly digital adolescence, the academic field investigating how digital technologies affect adolescents' psychological well-being is growing rapidly. In the last years, much research has amassed, and this has been summarised in over 80 systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Materials and methods: Systematic reviews, meta-analyses and key studies are reviewed to provide insights into the state of current research linking digital technology and social media use to well-being; possible future directions and improvements are discussed. Results: When examining the reviews, it becomes evident that the research field is dominated by cross-sectional work that is generally of a low quality standard. While research has highlighted the importance of differentiating between different types of digital technology use many studies do not consider such necessary nuances. These limitations aside, the association between digital technology use, or social media use in particular, and psychological well-being is-on average-negative but very small. Furthermore, the direction of the link between digital technology use and well-being is still unclear: effects have been found to exist in both directions and there has been little work done to rule out potential confounders. Conclusions: Reviewing the last decade of reviews in the area, it is evident that the research field needs to refocus on improving transparency, interpreting effect sizes and changing measurement. It also needs to show a greater appreciation for the individual differences that will inherently shape each adolescent's reaction to digital technologies.
... First, our study reveals that one week of Facebook is worth about $67 to users, with a median value of $40. This value is in line with other studies (Brynjolfsson et al., 2018;Corrigan et al., 2018;Allcott et al., 2019;Sunstein, 2018;Herzog, 2018) and represents a significant portion of a typical university student's weekly budget and expenses (roughly 30% according to Flood et al. (2017)). 2 Individuals place a nontrivial value on Facebook usage, and the value increases 19.6% after not being able to use it for one ...
... Overall, the effects our study finds on news awareness, news consumption, feelings of depression and daily activities show that Facebook has significant effects on important aspects of life not directly related to building and supporting social networks. Furthermore, almost two years after our experiment, Allcott et al. (2019) find similar results for news awareness and subjective well-being for a different population, which supports our findings. The effects of Facebook are far reaching, and our results provide a more comprehensive documentation of these impacts on daily life. ...
... Second, we find effects for some, but not most, of the outcomes, thus alleviating concerns of such an effect. Finally, in a later study with a similar design, Allcott et al. (2019) find similar results to ours while explicitly testing for demand effects. ...
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Social media permeates many aspects of our lives, including how we connect with others, where we get our news and how we spend our time. Yet, we know little about the economic effects for users. In 2017, we ran a large field experiment with over 1,765 individuals to document the value of Facebook to users and its causal effect on news, well-being and daily activities. Participants reveal how much they value one week of Facebook usage and are then randomly assigned to a validated Facebook restriction or normal use. One week of Facebook is worth $67. Those who are off Facebook for one week reduce news consumption, are less likely to recognize politically-skewed news stories, report being less depressed and engage in healthier activities. These results are strongest for men. Our results further suggest that, after the restriction, Facebook's value increases, consistent with information loss or that using Facebook may be addictive. JEL codes: C93, D91, D83, I31
... So, it plays a large role in terms of the number of users and from the impact side. The number of Internet users is increasing significantly on social media platforms (Allcott, Braghieri, Eichmeyer, & Gentzkow, 2019). So, marketers and companies in all sectors rely on these modern means to market their products and services (Alghizzawi, 2019;Gulbahar & Yildirim, 2015). ...
... Providing a critical literature review could help in establishing the grounds for any research study (Al- Emran, 2015;Saa, Al-Emran, & Shaalan, 2019). In this study, the relevant studies were reviewed (Alghizzawi, 2019;Alghizzawi, Ghani, et al., 2018;Allcott et al., 2019;Gulbahar & Yildirim, 2015;Habes, Alghizzawi, Khalaf, Salloum, & Abd. Ghani, 2018;Motteh saleh al-shibly, 2018;Penni, 2015;Stephen, 2016;Yoo et al., 2015) to make general perception to social media and influence on viral marketing. ...
... Social media platforms are the new communication channels and information source for all the world (Abd Al-sameeM, 2012;Al-Emran & Malik, 2016;Alghizzawi, 2019;Alghizzawi, Salloum, et al., 2018;Allcott et al., 2019;Habes, Alghizzawi, Khalaf, et al., 2018;Rauniar, Rawski, Yang, & Johnson, 2014;Salloum, Mhamdi, et al., 2017). Therefore, it plays an important role in viral marketing and eWOM (Gunawan & Huarng, 2015;Kaplan & Haenlein, 2011;Richardson & Domingos, 2002). ...
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The main objective of this paper is to highlight the importance of social networking platforms in viral marketing and the word spoken electronically. The revolution of modern technology with social media platforms offers new opportunities for communication between consumers and marketers. Organizations need to always have a way to stay in touch with customers and achieve this through the platforms of social communication, which is still the first in the world about disseminating information and communication. Therefore, the importance of social communication platforms increased with their impact on customers through the electronic word of mouth and viral marketing. The results of this study provide insights for decision-makers, marketers, and organizations to focus on the social communication platforms and the opinions shared between consumers to stay updated for any comment. It also emphasizes the effectiveness of marketing through social networking platforms, especially if it is a piece of information or advertising among consumers. This study will contribute to the development of broad lines for the future to help decision-makers in marketing plans and strengthening academic literature in this field.
... First, our study reveals that one week of Facebook is worth about $67 to users, with a median value of $40. This value is in line with other studies (Brynjolfsson et al., 2018;Corrigan et al., 2018;Allcott et al., 2019;Sunstein, 2018;Herzog, 2018) and represents a significant portion of a typical university student's weekly budget and expenses (roughly 30% according to Flood et al. (2017)). 2 Individuals place a nontrivial value on Facebook usage, and the value increases 19.6% after not being able to use it for one ...
... Overall, the effects our study finds on news awareness, news consumption, feelings of depression and daily activities show that Facebook has significant effects on important aspects of life not directly related to building and supporting social networks. Furthermore, almost two years after our experiment, Allcott et al. (2019) find similar results for news awareness and subjective well-being for a different population, which supports our findings. The effects of Facebook are far reaching, and our results provide a more comprehensive documentation of these impacts on daily life. ...
... Second, we find effects for some, but not most, of the outcomes, thus alleviating concerns of such an effect. Finally, in a later study with a similar design, Allcott et al. (2019) find similar results to ours while explicitly testing for demand effects. ...
Article
Social media permeates many aspects of our lives, including how we connect with others, where we get our news and how we spend our time. Yet, we know little about the economic effects for users. In 2017, we ran a large field experiment with over 1765 individuals to document the value of Facebook to users and its causal effect on news, well-being and daily activities. Participants reveal how much they value one week of Facebook usage and are then randomly assigned to a validated Facebook restriction or normal use. One week of Facebook is worth $67. Those who are off Facebook for one week reduce news consumption, are less likely to recognize politically-skewed news stories, report being less depressed and engage in healthier activities. These results are strongest for men. Our results further suggest that, after the restriction, Facebook’s value increases, consistent with information loss or that using Facebook may be addictive.
... First, it is related to the literature on pandering and political agency (Ashworth & Shotts, 2010;Besley, 2006;Canes-Wrone, Herron, & Shotts, 2001;Fox, 2007;Maskin & Tirole, 2004;Morelli & Van Weelden, 2013), from which it borrows the basic structure of the model. Second, it is related to the growing literature on the consequences of behavioural biases and cognitive limitations on political choice (Alesina & Passarelli, 2019;Ashworth & Bueno de Mesquita, 2014;Glaeser & Ponzetto, 2017;Levy & Razin, 2015;Lockwood, 2016;Lockwood & Rockey, 2018;Ortoleva & Snowberg, 2015). ...
... However, Lockwood (2016) studies confirmation bias and I study rational inattention. 10 Both Mosquera, Odunowo, McNamara, Guo, and Petrie (2019) and Allcott, Braghieri, Eichmeyer, and Gentzkow (2019) show that, among the causal effects of Facebook deactivation, there is reduced news consumption, reduced ability to recognize politically skewed stories, reduced news knowledge and attention to politics. ...
... If so, in the logic of this model, it may increase the welfare of the voter. A detailed theoretical analysis of the direction of this effect is left for further research, but it is worth mentioning that two very recent empirical contributions ( Mosquera et al., 2019 andAllcott et al. 2019) are consistent with social media reducing the cost of attention to politics. Both papers look at the causal effect of Facebook deactivation finding, among other things, that it reduces news knowledge and attention to politics. ...
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Should voters always pay attention to politics? I explore the role of endogenous costly attention allocation in politics, combining insights from the growing literature on rational inattention with a standard model of political agency. I show that when attention to the action of the politician is endogenous, voters may choose to pay too much attention in equilibrium, and this induces too much political pandering. Moreover when attention to the action and to the state of the world are both endogenous, voters may not pay enough attention the state with respect to the ex ante optimum. A reduction in the total cost of attention does not correct this inefficiency and can even reduce welfare. This model can be a demand-driven explanation of the under-provision of analytical contents by news channels.
... A 2019 study focusing on "the welfare effects of Facebook" seemed to confirm that these effects from 15 years prior may now well extend to Facebook (Allcott et al., 2019). The authors asked a subset of subjects to deactivate Facebook for four weeks, and studied the comparative effect against a control group. ...
... The authors asked a subset of subjects to deactivate Facebook for four weeks, and studied the comparative effect against a control group. They found within their sample that deactivation could be tied to a number of positive outcomes, including: an increase in offline activity including face-to-face socializing, a reduction in political polarization, and an increased sense of overall wellbeing (Allcott et al., 2019). The increase in face-to-face socializing indicates that Facebook use may be tied to a reduction in quality relationships, a key driver of social wellbeing. ...
... A kutatás járulékos célja a kapcsolódó elméletekben és empirikus kutatásokban (például: Allcott et al. 2019, Portwood-Stacer 2013, Stieger et al. 2013) eddig feltárt jelenségek azonosítása, megerősítése és megvitatása. ...
... Az időszakos szüneten alapuló legfrissebb empirikus kísérletek közül való a Stanford Egyetem kutatóinak munkája (Allcott et al. 2019), amely közel háromezer fizetett résztvevő bevonásával azt igazolta, hogy a Facebook-fiókjukat a kísérlet részeként felfüggesztő felhasználók a vizsgálat egy hónapja idején kevésbé voltak tájékozottak a napi történésekről, ugyanakkor politikailag is kevésbé voltak polarizáltak és vehemensek, mint a résztvevők másik fele, akik továbbra is naponta legalább egy órát eltöltöttek platform használatával. 6 Azokban a korábbi kutatásokban (például: Stieger et al. 2013), amelyek az aktív és inaktív felhasználók értékrendjét, motivációit hasonlították össze, azt találták, hogy a saját elhatározásukból kilépők jelentős hányada adatvédelmi aggályok miatt hagyta el a platformot. ...
Preprint
According to the findings of the empirical research presented in this paper, Facebook seemed rather a source of practical information than a social network platform for users. Leastwise, this is the function firstly recognized by those who inactivated their account. Participants, recruited by a public call in Hungary, 2019 Lent period, have been recorded their experiences related to the four week Facebook silence, showing more and more user consciousness during the session. Volunteering (as the self-motivation of the participants) appeared a dominant issue both with respect to the results and to the interpretation as well. The narratives have been studied with a content analytics method. Keywords: social media, social silence, quit Facebook, Facebook use, user consciousness, narrative theory.
... In addition to product quality, network effects and focal point effects are also contributing factors towards these valuations. Furthermore, many of these digital goods are also associated with externalities and a parallel stream of research is needed to explore these issues in greater detail (for example, Allcott et al. (2019) explore the impact of Facebook on subjective well-being, news consumption and political polarization). ...
... For decades, subjective well-being measures have been developed, tested, and applied by economists. 7 Researchers have illustrated the power of these measures to assess the impact of markets, public policy, and the value of public goods or bads for which no market prices exist (Winkelmann and Winkelmann, 1998;van Praag and Baarsma, 2005;Frey et al., 2007;Luechinger, 2009;Luechinger and Raschky, 2009;Metcalfe et al., 2011;Levinson, 2012;Ludwig et al., 2012;Bayer and Juessen, 2015;Goebel et al., 2015;Aghion et al., 2016;Danzer and Danzer, 2016;Krekel and Zerrahn, 2017;Allcott et al., 2019;Perez-Truglia, 2019). Policy-makers are increasingly interested in subjective well-being measures to monitor social progress (Stiglitz et al., 2009(Stiglitz et al., , 2018HM Treasury, 2011;Dolan and Metcalfe, 2012;OECD, 2013;National Research Council, 2013). ...
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Hosting the Olympic Games costs billions of taxpayer dollars. Following a quasi-experimental setting, this paper assesses the intangible impact of the London 2012 Olympics, using a novel panel of 26,000 residents in London, Paris, and Berlin during the summers of 2011, 2012, and 2013. We show that hosting the Olympics increases subjective well-being of the host city's residents during the event, particularly around the times of the opening and closing ceremonies. However, we do not find much evidence for legacy effects. Estimating residents' implicit willingness-to-pay for the event, we do not find that it was worth it for London alone, but a modest well-being impact on the rest of the country would make hosting worth the costs.
... Die Forschungsergebnisse insgesamt sind jedoch uneinheitlich. Während eine der seltenen Längsschnittstudien auf Twitter eine depolarisierende Wirkung durch heterogene Netzwerke in verschiedenen Ländern wie den USA, Deutschland und Spanien nachweisen kann (Barberá 2015), liefern Studien über die Rolle von Facebook konträre und widersprüchliche Ergebnisse ( Allcott et al. 2019;Beam et al. 2018). Auch bezüglich des Internetzugangs insgesamt zeigt sich ein uneinheitliches Bild: Während Tewksbury und Riles (2015) einen Zusammenhang zwischen Internetnutzung und Polarisierung in den USA feststellen, argumentieren Boxell et al. (2017), dass politische Polarisierung in den letzten Jahren insbesondere unter denjenigen US-Bürgern zugenommen hat, die mit der geringsten Wahrscheinlichkeit das Internet nutzen. ...
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Inwiefern digitale Medien politische Prozesse beeinflussen ist eine intensiv diskutierte Frage inner- und außerhalb der Politikwissenschaft. Besondere Prominenz in dieser Debatte hat dabei die Hypothese sogenannter „Echokammern“ gewonnen, wonach digitale Medien ihre Nutzer darin bestärken, insbesondere solche Nachrichten zu beziehen, deren politische Positionierung sie teilen, und dadurch zu einer gesellschaftlichen Polarisierung beitragen. Während Echokammern in der öffentlichen Debatte zumeist unkritisch als gegeben betrachtet werden, wird das Konzept im wissenschaftlichen Diskurs zunehmend hinterfragt. Als Herausforderungen erweisen sich dabei eine schwache theoretische Aufarbeitung des Phänomens, ein stark zersplittertes Forschungsfeld und eine mangelnde Generalisierbarkeit von Forschungsergebnissen aufgrund des primären Fokus auf den US-amerikanischen Kontext. Der vorliegende Beitrag begegnet diesen Problemstellungen und gibt einen detaillierten Überblick über das Forschungsfeld. Der Literaturüberblick trägt dabei zur theoretischen Erfassung des Untersuchungsgegenstands bei, insbesondere durch eine explizite Differenzierung zwischen Fragmentierung und Polarisierung, und berücksichtigt außerdem länderspezifische Variationen. Insgesamt kommt dieser Überblick zu dem Schluss, dass die im öffentlichen Diskurs geäußerte Furcht vor einer gesamtgesellschaftlichen Fragmentierung durch digitale Medien und einer damit verbundenen politischen Polarisierung empirisch nicht unterstützt wird. So ist aufbauend auf die bisherige Forschung keine Fragmentierung öffentlicher Aufmerksamkeit entlang politischer Präferenzen feststellbar. Auch auf der Wirkungsebene der Polarisierung sprechen die bisherigen Erkenntnisse gegen die vereinfachten Annahmen der Echokammer-Hypothese. Dennoch sind die bisherigen wissenschaftlichen Befunde aufgrund von Limitationen im Datenzugang noch nicht umfassend genug. Der Beitrag verdeutlicht, dass die politische Kommunikationsforschung insbesondere von innovativen, extern validen Designs und komparativer Forschung außerhalb des US-Kontexts profitieren würde.
... If so, in the logic of this model, it may increase the welfare of the voter. A detailed theoretical analysis of the direction of this effect is left for further research, but it is worth mentioning that two very recent empirical contributions(Mosquera et al. (2018) andAllcott et al. (2019)) are consistent with social media reducing the cost of attention to politics. Both papers look at the causal effect of Facebook de-activation finding, among other things, that it reduces news knowledge and attention to politics. ...
... Recommender systems (RSs) generally show users feeds of items with the goal of maximizing their engagement, and users choose what to click on based on their preferences. Importantly, the recommender's actions are not independent of changes in users' internal states: simple changes in the content displayed to users have been shown to affect user's behavior (Wilhelm et al., 2018;Hohnhold et al., 2015), mood (Kramer et al., 2014), beliefs (Allcott et al., 2020), 1 UC Berkeley. Correspondence to: <mdc@berkeley.edu>. ...
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... These platforms have helped the consumers to cut communication costs, sharing important resources and information with others. (Allcott et al, 2019). Several social www.ijariie.com ...
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A key issue in science is assessing robustness to data analysis choices, while avoiding selective reporting and providing valid inference. Specification Curve Analysis is a tool intended to prevent selective reporting. Alas, when used for inference it can create severe biases and false positives, due to wrongly adjusting for covariates, and mask important treatment effect heterogeneity. As our motivating application, it led an influential study to conclude there is no relevant association between technology use and teenager mental well‐being. We discuss these issues and propose a strategy for valid inference. Bayesian Specification Curve Analysis (BSCA) uses Bayesian Model Averaging to incorporate covariates and heterogeneous effects across treatments, outcomes and subpopulations. BSCA gives significantly different insights into teenager well‐being, revealing that the association with technology differs by device, gender and who assesses well‐being (teenagers or their parents).
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When buying durable goods, consumers must forecast how much utility they will derive from future consumption, including consumption in different states of the world. This can be complicated for consumers because making intertemporal evaluations may expose them to a variety of psychological biases such as present bias, projection bias, and salience effects. We investigate whether consumers are affected by such intertemporal biases when they purchase automobiles. Using data for more than 40 million vehicle transactions, we explore the impact of weather on purchasing decisions. We find that the choice to purchase a convertible or a four-wheel-drive is highly dependent on the weather at the time of purchase in a way that is inconsistent with classical utility theory. We consider a range of rational explanations for the empirical effects we find, but none can explain fully the effects we estimate. We then discuss and explore projection bias and salience as two primary psychological mechanisms that are consistent with our results. JEL Codes: D03; D12.